Madison Starbucks workers join national strike effort

MADISON, Wis. — Starbucks workers in Madison went on strike Thursday, joining workers from more than 100 stores around the country in a national attempt to get the coffee giant to recognize widespread unionization efforts within its stores.

Lee Marfyak, a shift supervisor at the Starbucks on Madison’s Capitol Square said he and his co-workers have been pushing to negotiate a union contract for months ever since the store’s workers won their unionization bid earlier this year. According to Marfyak, negotiations with the company haven’t gone well since then.

“They’re not bargaining in good faith, so we’re trying to be out here and show them that we’re the reason they make money; they need us,” Marfyak said. “We want, like, a mutually beneficial relationship, but that’s not going to happen when they won’t even show up to negotiate the terms of a contract.”

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Thursday’s strike came on Starbucks’ Red Cup Day when customers show up to stores around the country to get reusable holiday cups; the day also marks the launch of the company’s new holiday drinks.

“We’re working in tandem to kind of do everything together because more power in numbers, solidarity across is really how we’re going to make our point known, now we’re going to bring them to the table,” Marfyak said.

Of the roughly 260 stores around the country, 111 went on strike Thursday.

While Marfyak and his co-workers don’t have any meetings planned with corporate representatives, he’s hopeful they’ll eventually come to the table.

“We’re keeping our mind open, we’re going to give them the benefit of the doubt, but for now they have not shown any signs of bargaining in good faith,” Marfyak said.